Before leaving Kusadasi this morning, we visited a leather shop and saw, and some of us participated in, a fashion show. It was good fun, but I didn’t get a leather jacket. After seeing video of me “modelling” a loose, red jacket, I wish I had bought it. Oh, well, I’ll just have to come back.
Today was a driving day but we stopped at Didyma to visit the massive marble Temple of Apollo at Didyma. Stepping off the bus we were hit with a wall of heat. With the heat radiating off the Temple, it must have been in the mid-40’s. This was the site of one of the most famous oracles in the ancient world – a place where people would come to have their fortunes told and the future predicted and one of the largest temples we have seen in Turkey.
There were two oracles in ancient Greece, one at Delphi, and the one here. An oracle is a woman who communicates directly with the gods, usually chosen as a young girl with a gift for visions. No-one would see the oracle except a single priest who would act as mediary. The oracle would be consulted by even the highest office, Emperor; for example, before entering a war or a battle, the gods would be consulted in this way.
We headed to Altinkum Beach for lunch and envied all the swimmers who lolled in what, given the numbers must have been very warm temperature of the Adriatic. The atmosphere called for a frosty margarita. After a delicious lunch, we strolled along the promenade.
We drove on to Bodrum which still has a strong Greek look and feel to it and this beach town attracts the rich and famous with their beautiful yachts. The town is the site of another of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Built in the 4th Century BCE. The tomb was the largest and most elaborate ever built and has served as a model for hundreds of thousands of tombs ever since. The 15th Century Castle of St. Peter built by the Knights of St John using some of the pieces of the Mausoleum, graces the landscape.
Our bus climbed the steep hill to a hotel with a gorgeous view of the town and it’s whitewashed houses tumbling down the hillside. Later, we walked downslope to a Greek-style outdoor seaside restaurant. After tzaziki, eggplant and other dips and fresh bread, fresh fish and a beautiful array of fresh fruit, we strolled the promenade and shops brimming with dark brown handmade leather sandals and taxied back up the hill.
It’s interesting to note that since the times of Alexander the Great, while empires came and went, ordinary Greek people continuously lived along the west coast and islands just off the coast of Turkey until the Republic was formed in 1923, and of course many Turks lived on Greek islands and the Greek mainland. In 1923, Ataturk and the Greek govenrment declared a great “Exchange.” Greeks were expelled from Turkey and Turks were expelled from Greece. This left the people at loose ends; these Greeks returning to Greece were treated as Turks by the Greek people, and the Turks returning to Turkey were treated as Greeks by the Turkish people. Many of them wound up on ships to America.
The little gem of a foodie film, “A Touch of Spice,” deals in a light-hearted way with the plight of a Greek from Turkey moving to Greece – it’s available for purchase on Amazon or rental at Picaflik in Oak Bay, Victoria. The trailer:
PS in case you are interested, the seven wonders of the ancient world are:
- the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt
- the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece
- the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- the Colossus of Rhodes
- the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt
The only one intact today is the Great Pyramid at Giza.